When Mechanics Don't Matter

  • So I've been talking to a lot of people about Pokemon Go, trying to understand exactly why it's become so popular, and the consensus I've seemed to find is - people realize the mechanics behind the game are super shallow, yet their love of generation one Pokemon is large enough they're willing to look past it. Essentially a lot of the game boils down to tapping your screen (love Kyle's take on the game here) but that doesn't matter, because you can catch a Cubone.

    Are you willing to play a game solely based on its coat of paint or do you also need some mechanical integrity to fully dive into one? If your favorite franchise ditched all of intricate ideas in favor of having you tap your screen and pay micro-transactions, are you willing to look past that because it has things you love in it?

  • I enjoy Witcher 3 for the pretty graphics & story. Combat just doesn't interest me in this game. I know there's potions and magic, but I don't find them all that enjoyable to use.

  • It depends on the game...and how strong the nostalgia is. Treasure could make a Stretch Panic mobile game and I'd be thrilled because they acknowledged that such an amazing game even exists, but that wouldn't make the mobile game a good one, or one that I'd play more than a few times. Of course, a change in mechanics isn't a bad one. I realize that I might be in the minority but I actually enjoyed the direction the Paper Mario series took with Super Paper Mario. That game couldn't be much more different from the Thousand Year Door and yet it's still a great game.

    As for switching to mobile, I haven't seen it done well yet. Doesn't mean it could never happen, but I'm not sold.

  • Half of the games I'm sold on is probably because of lore. It is true that story and mechanics can make a game great, but the LORE! I'm sure I'm in the minority when I say Destiny is one of my favourite games, and the best part of it can't even be found in the game. Most of lore is external in the grimoire cards. And it is some of the juiciest lore in any franchise. Pokemon Go is probably the same way. People play the game so much because they just want to be enveloped in the world

  • Mechanics do matter.

    Pokemon is just a mobile game with a target audience of everyone, so they lowered the difficulty to nothing, doesn't mean there isn't a design. It just means the mechanics was designed to be as simple as possible.

  • @Whoaness Understandable. The thing that is troubling though is that I know 3DS owners that do not care about Sun & Moon releasing, yet Go is the best thing that has ever happened in their lives. Just wondering if this is an indicator as to where more franchises are headed.

  • Yes.

    I believe there is a satisfaction total you need from game that and that total comes from the accumulation of gameplay, story, and aesthetics.
    As long as something of these three weigh enough, it will keep you going. Granted the gameplay isn't so broken you can't progress.

    Take a look at The Walking Dead by Tell Tale. So many loved that game because of the story. The animations were imo janky, graphics could've been better, and there is no mechanics to really talk about.

    Then there's games like Super Mario Galaxy with no relevant story but it's so much fun to play that it keeps you going.

  • @SabotageTheTruth They're different games.

    Sun and Moon is formulaic franchise stuck on single platform.
    Pokemon GO is a completely new take on the franchise, it's gimmicky, and is on platforms that everyone has.

  • @Whoaness You're an Uncharted fan from what I've read. Let's say they decide to release an Uncharted mobile game that is similar to Temple Run or uses another gimmick all the while Naughty Dog announces that it's not a thief's end and Uncharted 5 is definitely coming out. For some reason, all media and all the people you know are exclusively talking about this Temple Run Uncharted mobile game, ignoring the fact that a new game in the main series is coming out. That's not a little concerning to you?

    I guess I'm just worried about degradation of mechanics as a whole by seeing how popular something like Go has become, but you're right, it being on mobile does affect it quite a bit.

    Edit: I just realized a Temple Run version of Uncharted does exist. I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

  • @SabotageTheTruth Doesn't matter. They're different games.
    I get to play my epic adventure third person shooters, others can play their accessible temple run game.

    Naughty Dog isn't going to suddenly close up shop for consoles just because an obviously more accessible game is play by a lot of people in an open platform.
    And remember that Nintendo didn't even make Pokemon GO, and Miitomo absolutely bombed (though it's not game). It's not going to affect the future of their best selling franchise.

  • Kind of a non answer as I have not played one yet but the Atelier games send a trigger to my brain telling me to buy ... but my instincts tell me that the games might be a bit shallow.

    I will get one of them on the PS4 it will happen.

  • I think there's a certain threshold. A game can be mindless but it can't be too mindless, if that makes sense.

    I think the best way to explain what I mean is Hyperdimension Neptunia and Senran Kagura. The first Neptunia is genuinely one of the worst games I've ever played (it's far from the buggiest or anything, but there's a lot more that goes into making a game bad than just how well it technically runs.) while Senran Kagura, namely Estival Versus, is just pure dumb fun. It's pretty simple even by musou standards, but at least it feels good to play and it's a spectacle to watch a hundred mooks die by your hand in one special attack.

    Those games are pretty far removed gameplay-wise, but I see them lumped together a lot as "dumb anime girl fanservice games" and I honestly don't think that's fair because SK feels like an enjoyable game that uses the aesthetics to help sell rather than relying solely on them like Neptunia does.

  • Are you willing to play a game solely based on its coat of paint or do you also need some mechanical integrity to fully dive into one? If your favorite franchise ditched all of intricate ideas in favor of having you tap your screen and pay micro-transactions, are you willing to look past that because it has things you love in it?

    I've bought games simply because of fandom and they're mostly awful, but there's usually enough to it that lets me see past the flaws (mainly import stuff). But as others have mentioned, I think its on an individual basis. We all have our own personal threshold/tolerance for what's worth playing.

    I think its more amazing (for better or worse) that developers have managed to create games that can engage a person's attention just through tapping. The whole "Skinner box" implementation in game design is pretty brilliant in theory and often chilling when seen in practice.

  • I thought skyrim's combat was trash, but I sunk hundreds of hours into that game. Mainly because of it's immersiveness.

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    I love the existence of Pokemon Go simply for the headlines it generates.

    Mechanics are everything, form follows function, story is nothing. This is true of film and literature also.

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    Youtube Video

  • I just played through Inside the other day. That game hardly stands tall and proud on its mechanics, but I'll be damned if that wasn't a cool game anyway.

    So yeah, I'm fine with semi-interactive stories. As long as there is SOMETHING there to grasp on to, I'll take it.

  • I haven't even battled yet. That is definitely not the main draw of the game. It's the collection aspect. As they've been saying for decades now, gotta catch 'em all. Going on physical walks to Pokestops is the main draw (for now, this may change as more features are added to the game).

  • Gamer still play these games too, look at Miitomo. These games capture the attention of millions. While lacking the some mechanics of larger games, these smaller games are the test version of the real games. It's like a gateway drug for gamers. Pokémon Go sets up casual players for a Pokémon game. It's a interesting way of getting people to play game. Actually it's a brilliant marketing strategy.